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vecchiolarry

They Wanted "Who" For That Role??

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Hello Everyone,

 

Something new: - -

 

We all know who ended up playing a certain role.

But, did you know some other(s) actors and actresses were considered for certain roles before the eventual performer.

 

Example:

Norma Desmond in :Sunset Boulevard" (1950).... eventually played by Gloria Swanson.

 

First up in 1946:

Mae Murray - - approached by Adolph Zukor himself. She threw him out of her house and told him never to talk to her again when he mentioned Norma was 'an aging actress'......

 

Next in 1947 /48:

Mary Pickford - - she wanted script and director and cast approval.......

 

1948:

Pola Negri - - she thought that the role was a supporting one to Joe Gilles and nixed it....

 

Mae West - - she wanted to write the script and leave Joe as the supporting player......

 

1949:

Norma Talmadge was considered but never approached since she was a drug addict by then and very unpredictable......

Corinne Griffith was also considered but let it be known through friends that she wanted $1 million dollars up front to even sign the contract, then expenses.....

 

1949:

Gloria Swanson - - and the rest is history........

 

 

What other roles can you remember were not cast with the premier choice??

 

Larry

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I don't know if this was considered, but there are people who keep posting in the Musicals Forum that Doris Day would have been perfect for Mitzi Gaynor's role in South Pacific. I don't see it myself. Does anyone know if Ms Day was considered?

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Good category, Larry.

 

Believe it or not Doris Day was first choice as Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate". It was her producer husband who wouldn't allow her to do it. Damn it!

 

Also English actress Peggy Cummins was already fit for costumes to play the lead in "Forever Amber" when suddenly replaced by Linda Darnell.

 

More later.

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Brad,

 

Yes, Doris Day was considered for Nellie Forbush and I don't really know why she didn't do it.

But, I'm satisfied with the Mitzi Gaynor outcome.

 

Mongo,

 

Doris Day was considered a 'movie virgin' by Melchior and he thought her public persona would be damaged and that is why he nixed Mrs. Robinson for her.

But, her career was nearly over anyway, so what's the problem? She may have had a whole new acting advantage.

 

And, before Peggy Cummins got the role, Lana Turner was supposed to do "Forever Amber"; even Kathleen Winsor OK'ed her.

But Louis B. Mayer wouldn't loan out Lana to 20th because he was mad at her for her Tyrone Power romance.

So, Lana ran off to Mexico with Tyrone, where he was doing "Captain From Castille" and put "green Dolphin Street" behind schedule. I got all this from Moyna MacGill and Cesar Romero years ago. More useless gossip, eh??

 

Larry

 

Message was edited by:

vecchiolarry

 

Message was edited by:

vecchiolarry

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According to the Doris Day fansite, she was definitely interested:

 

 

 

"Doris Day was thought to be the perfect choice for Nellie Forbush in this famous Broadway musical brought to the screen. However, it is reported from several sources (whether true or not) that Martin Melcher wanted too much money for Doris to play the part. The other rumor is that Doris was asked to do a little singing impromptu at a Hollywood party by Richard Rodgers. She refused since she did not like doing that sort of thing and that it cost her the role. What a difference her presence could have made in this Hollywood classic. From a gossip column came this release: '(Doris) is dying to do the Nellie Forbush role in 'South Pacific' and is willing to give a million for the screen rights.'"

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Larry, that's great gossip. As far as roles - Tyrone Power was wanted for Paris in Kings Row but Zanuck vowed after Marie Antoinette to never loan him out again. He also lost Ashley Wilkes, the lead in "The Last Tycoon" that Norma Shearer wanted to produce in the '40s, and just about any film made by Harry Cohn, who was crazy to get him.

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Well, I am sure most have heard this one before, but WB wanted Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan for Casablanca!!! I'm sure it would be good still, but not the classic it was. And how many roles did George Raft give away to Bogart? A quick google search shows that he(Raft) turned down It All Came True, Casablanca, High Sierra, and oh yeah, The Maltese Falcon!!!

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Hiya Larry,

 

I was looking for Barbara Stanwyck pix and found this link, listing roles that Barbara was either offered and turned down, or that she had wanted but couldn't get. Imagine her in The Fountainhead and On Golden Pond

 

http://www.notstarring.com/actors/stanwyck-barbara

 

Its quite a fun site.

 

Also found this piece of info there:

 

Ball of Fire

 

After Ginger Rogers and Barbara Stanwyck turned down the part of a brassy showgirl who falls for a stick-in-the-mud professor, Lucy was set for the role. But Stanwyck changed her mind about the part, and Lucy was out of luck.

Actor who got the part: Barbara Stanwyck

 

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LuckyDan

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Lana Turner fits the description of Amber in the novel Forever Amber better than Linda Darnell, but I did enjoy Darnell's performance.

 

Sandy K

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I understand that Robert Wise wanted Spencer Tracy to play my favorite alien (and namesake) "Klaatu" in the 1951 The Day the Earth Stood Still. The story goes that Tracy didn't want to play second fiddle to a giant robot. In the original tabloid story upon which the film is based, the giant robot "Gnut" (who movie fans know as "Gort") turns out to be the one actually in charge (hence the story's name, "Farewell to the Master" - the Master being the robot). It's possible that Tracy was responding to that rather than the actual finished script that had the robot-in-charge theme sloughed off.

 

It's just as well. Michael Rennie is perfect in the role.

 

There's an entire site dedicated to the topic of near-misses in casting. It's at http://www.notstarring.com/

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One that I thought was really interesting:

 

Frank Capra originally wanted to make Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington, reteaming Jean Arthur with Gary Cooper. When he couldn't get Gary Cooper the script was retooled for Jimmy Stewart. I really loved Mr. Deeds, but imagine life without Mr. Smith?!

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> Well, I am sure most have heard this one before, but

> WB wanted Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan for

> Casablanca!!! I'm sure it would be good still, but

> not the classic it was.

 

I'm sure it could have been worse. Imagine if MGM had gotten the rights to "Casablanca". They might have made it as a musical with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, or even as a romantic comedy with William Powell and Myrna Loy.

 

;-)

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Burt Lancaster lost out on two roles to Marlon Brando, Don Vito In "The Godfather and Stanley in "Street Car Named Desire" Also Patton (George C.Scott), Under Capricorn (Joseph Cotton) and the Biggest role he turned down (1959's) Ben Hur

Which won Heston,Brando and Scott the Oscar..

And the rest (as they say) is Cinema History......

 

 

vallo

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I heard that Alfred Hitchcock wanted Gary Cooper for Foreign Correspondent, but Gary wasn't interested so he went with Joel McCrea. I have seen this film several times, and I just can't imagine Gary cooper in that role. It was, in my opinion, tailor made for Joel.

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Noel Langley wrote the part of the Wizard (in Wizard of Oz) with W.C. Fields in mind, but Fields wanted too much money. Ed Wynn was also considered before MGM eventually settled on someone already under contract --- Frank Morgan. Wallace Beery wanted the role, but apparently they didn't want him.

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Someone once wrote me , cos i love to collect those rumored films/projekts my dear Great Garbo was rumored to do, that she was also suggested to star in Casablanca.I doubt that this is true but i put it in my list of "rumored films for Garbo"

I collected nearly 150 Films or projekts of hers.Most are unconfirmed stuff i took out of magazines,books but its still worth to read.I will put it online one day.

 

 

 

http://www.garboforever.de.vu/

 

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GarboForever

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Hi,

 

Wow, so many interesting possiblities for roles that eventually probably went to the right person.

 

Thanks for the contributions and keep them coming.

I'm happy the thread is doing so well and it's an education in movie folklore, while entertaining too!!!!!

 

Larry

 

Message was edited by:

vecchiolarry

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"I understand that Robert Wise wanted Spencer Tracy to play my favorite alien (and namesake) "Klaatu" in the 1951 The Day the Earth Stood Still."

 

As you probably know, Klaatu, on the dvd commentary for The Day the Earth Stood Still, Robert Wise mentions that Claude Rains was his choice for the role that went to Michael Rennie. It certainly would've changed the tenor of that movie considerably if Rains had taken the part. Darryl F. Zanuck wished to use an actor who was a contract player in the part, so the rest is cinema history.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Warner Brothers wanted Edward G. Robinson to play Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest rather than Humphrey Bogart from the stage version, and Robinson was eager to do so, they say. Leslie Howard intervened on Bogart's behalf, notifying WB by telegram that "no Bogart, no Howard." Mr. Bogart never forgot his honorable friend's loyalty, (and sense of chemistry when it came to casting), and named his second child, a daughter, Leslie, after his late friend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Cary Grant has to be the all time champ when it comes to turning down plum roles. There was Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, which Grant turned down flat, explaining that if anyone other than Rex Harrison played the part, he would not see the movie. Apparently, three directors who were constantly throwing scripts over Cary Grant's garden wall were Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder and David Lean. Hitchcock offered Grant the leads in a never produced version of Greenmantle, (an adaptation of John Buchan's novel. Buchan is the author of "The Thirty-Nine Steps", which Hitch had made into an international hit with Robert Donat), Mr. and Mrs. Smith , Spellbound, Rope, I Confess, Dial M for Murder, The Birds, Torn Curtain, and most interestingly, a modern dress Hamlet that was never made. Whew!

 

Billy Wilder says that he wrote the scripts for Sabrina (1951), Love in the Afternoon and One, Two, Three with Grant in mind.

 

David Lean wanted Grant for The Bridge Over the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. And then there were the times that other directors offered Mr. Grant leading roles in The Third Man, A Star is Born(1954), Roman Holiday, Phantom of the Opera (1962), Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Mary Poppins, Lolita, and It's a Wonderful Life.

 

Brother! The only parts that Grant doesn't seem to have been offered were those of Lassie and Little Eva in Uncle Tom's Cabin. Good thing that Mr. Grant understood the meanings of "overexposure" and "leave the audience wanting more".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Btw, James Cagney turned down the part of Eliza's father in My Fair Lady, stating to Jack Warner that Stanley Holloway was the only actor who should play that part.

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I think that I read once that Merle Oberon turned down the parts taken by Marlene Dietrich in The Garden of Allah (good move) and Bette Davis in Mr. Skeffington, (Oberon certainly would've been more credible as a legendary beauty). Maybe Larry knows if these roles were offered to her.

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Hi Moira,

 

I'm not sure about Merle and "The Garden of Allah" role although that is certainly possible.

 

As far as "Mr. Skeffington" goes, Hedy Lamarr was offered that role first and then Merle Oberon second. Of all the Bette Davis roles, this is the one I don't like her in. Not because she isn't beautiful enough but because she is so obtuse and rather hammy and mannered in the role and i just want to smack her. I probably would want to smack Hedy and Merle too because the character is so vain, self-centered and smackable!!!!!!

 

Larry

 

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vecchiolarry

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"...because the character is so vain, self-centered and smackable!!!!!!"

 

Thanks for the input, Larry. Your above evaluation of the character seems to me to be the crux of the problem with the Fanny Skeffington part. It certainly didn't help that Davis overplayed it, and according to the director Vincent Sherman, insisted on that ghastly makeup and exaggerated approach to the role. Btw, given the fact that Bette Davis could look very attractive, as in Dark Victory, Jezebel and The Letter, I don't think that she was the wrong choice for the part. Too bad she didn't exercise some restraint, though!

 

Hedy Lamarr might've been quite interesting in this part.

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The mention of Billy Wilder reminded me that he is said to have asked Fred MacMurray to play the Joe Gillis part in Sunset Boulevard before William Holden. MacMurray didn't like portraying morally ambiguous characters, which is too bad. He apparently preferred to be the inventor of flubber and the father of three on tv, rather than take work from the man who wrote him some of his best parts in Double Indemnity and The Apartment.

 

Katharine Ross was supposed to have been first choice for the Daisy Buchanan part in the version of The Great Gatsby which starred Redford. I've also read that Ali McGraw, who was married to Robert Evans at the time of the initiation of the project, was supposed to play Daisy. I didn't think it was that interesting a character, quite honestly.

 

Curt Jurgens was one of the actors vying with Christopher Plummer for Capt. Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Hmmm, not sure about that chemistry with Julie Andrews.

 

Before Sinatra was cast in the part of Maggio in From Here to Eternity, Eli Wallach had the part. According to director Fred Zinnemann's son Tim, Aldo Ray (a Columbia contract player) was Harry Cohn's first choice for the part of Prewitt immortalized by Montgomery Clift in that same film. I actually think that Ray would've been good in this part--different, tougher and closer to James Jones' character, but still a decent choice. Carolyn Jones was set to play the Donna Reed part before illness caused her to give up the part. I bet she'd have been fine too.

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